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Dogs, Cats, Worms and More Blessed in Spirit of St. Francis

Oct. 6, 2007 — St. Francis would have been pleased.
Many animals were blessed Saturday in honor of the 13th century saint's feast day. Parishioners came with their favorite feathered and furry friends to Christiansted’s Holy Cross Catholic Church, where Deacon David Caprioli blessed each and every one.
“There were ducks, turkey, rabbits, dogs and cats,” said Diane Scheuber of Christiansted. “Every year Stephen [O'Dea] brings his donkey. It’s our favorite event each year. It’s fun and we get to see such a wide range of pets in the community.”
Scheuber said this was about the seventh year the church has been having the blessing ceremony. It always falls on the closest Saturday to the feast of St. Francis, which is always Oct. 4, she said.
St. Francis of Assissi is the patron saint of animals, birds and the environment. There are many stories about his love of animals and his special bond with the natural world.
Deja Williams, a 12 year-old student at St. Mary’s School student, held her pooch Nemo. Nemo seems to think he’s something of a player and came sporting a stylish pair of wraparound shades worthy of the French Riviera.
Like every year, St. Croix resident Stephen O’Dea brought his donkey Eeyore, letting children pet and sit astride the friendly beast. A civically minded donkey, Eeyore has been carrying kids during the St. Croix Christmas Parade for a dozen years and coming for the annual blessing for about seven years now.
There were balloons and face painting for the children, along with cold drinks and a light buffet for everyone. Jan and Steffen Larsen were there taking pictures of the pets, and owners could buy a tee-shirt with their pet’s image on it.
The St. Croix Animal Shelter brought in a group of very cute puppies and juvenile dogs, to be blessed and to give away. Some were spoken for, would-be adopters filling out an application to ensure they have a proper place to keep the animal and to ensure the animals are vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
Numerous young children hovered around the animal shelter puppies, holding, petting and doting on them. Young Julissa Moolenaar of St. Croix held up an enthusiastic fluffy reddish brown bundle. “This is Arabel,” Moolenaar said. “If you want the cutest dog, you have to get this one.”
The award for the strangest pet to be blessed went to "a bunch of earthworms,” said Elizabeth Hering, who coordinated the event.
A farmer had brought in a large container of composting earthworms to be blessed before being put to work on the farm making soil, she explained. In a way, the blessing of the worms might have most captured the saint’s storied devotion to nature and all animals, even the most lowly.
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Oct. 6, 2007 -- St. Francis would have been pleased.
Many animals were blessed Saturday in honor of the 13th century saint's feast day. Parishioners came with their favorite feathered and furry friends to Christiansted’s Holy Cross Catholic Church, where Deacon David Caprioli blessed each and every one.
“There were ducks, turkey, rabbits, dogs and cats,” said Diane Scheuber of Christiansted. “Every year Stephen [O'Dea] brings his donkey. It’s our favorite event each year. It’s fun and we get to see such a wide range of pets in the community.”
Scheuber said this was about the seventh year the church has been having the blessing ceremony. It always falls on the closest Saturday to the feast of St. Francis, which is always Oct. 4, she said.
St. Francis of Assissi is the patron saint of animals, birds and the environment. There are many stories about his love of animals and his special bond with the natural world.
Deja Williams, a 12 year-old student at St. Mary’s School student, held her pooch Nemo. Nemo seems to think he’s something of a player and came sporting a stylish pair of wraparound shades worthy of the French Riviera.
Like every year, St. Croix resident Stephen O’Dea brought his donkey Eeyore, letting children pet and sit astride the friendly beast. A civically minded donkey, Eeyore has been carrying kids during the St. Croix Christmas Parade for a dozen years and coming for the annual blessing for about seven years now.
There were balloons and face painting for the children, along with cold drinks and a light buffet for everyone. Jan and Steffen Larsen were there taking pictures of the pets, and owners could buy a tee-shirt with their pet’s image on it.
The St. Croix Animal Shelter brought in a group of very cute puppies and juvenile dogs, to be blessed and to give away. Some were spoken for, would-be adopters filling out an application to ensure they have a proper place to keep the animal and to ensure the animals are vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
Numerous young children hovered around the animal shelter puppies, holding, petting and doting on them. Young Julissa Moolenaar of St. Croix held up an enthusiastic fluffy reddish brown bundle. “This is Arabel,” Moolenaar said. “If you want the cutest dog, you have to get this one.”
The award for the strangest pet to be blessed went to "a bunch of earthworms,” said Elizabeth Hering, who coordinated the event.
A farmer had brought in a large container of composting earthworms to be blessed before being put to work on the farm making soil, she explained. In a way, the blessing of the worms might have most captured the saint’s storied devotion to nature and all animals, even the most lowly.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.